Headed out to the West Carson for a quick 2-hour evening session. Figured that I would check out my ole’ favorite, the gauging station. Upon arrival, I noticed a truck belonging to one of the guides who works for Tahoe Fly Fishing, so I headed downstream. After about a 10 minute walk I am at one of my favorite spots and am rewarded by seeing fish flashing around and eating.
Weather was nice, winds were light to moderate and flows have been steadily coming down for several days, so this is an ideal evening. For anyone who fishes these canyons, they know that the winds always play a role here, and by late afternoon they can be howling down-canyon. Guess I lucked out. Bug activity was light and I cannot immediately assess what bugs are present, but being the impatient sort, I pick one and hit the water.
Started off with a yellow and orange Stimmie. Figured that I would tie on an attractor dry and do some searching. My second drift rewards me with a solid hookup. It was a smaller fish in the 8-10″ range, but a beautiful native no less. A few more drifts and some half-hearted refusals and I determine that it is time to tie on a proper dry to match the bugs coming off the water. There are a smattering of light colored mayflies hatching, but for the sake of visibility and flotation in the still-runoff-laden waters, I tie on a cream Elk Hair Caddis. Bingo! That does the job and I am rewarded with another nice native. About 6 more drifts and I concede to the fact that this particular hole is probably spooked.
I head downstream to a section where the river splits. There is a very nice flat just above the river split and having a dry on, figured that I should look for, and fish, calmer waters. Second drift in the new hole rewards me with another nice native. I work this hole to the tune of 3 more fish, all under 10″ and notice that it is now 7pm and the sun is edging behind the canyon lip.
I start the walk out as I have no headlamp with me that afternoon. I hit up several more spots on the way out, but do not grab any more fish. Guess I should have changed up to a nymph rig since there were no more bugs on the surface at this point in time. One thing I love about fishing my little local rivers is that they are an easy read and I always catch fish.
Headed to the East Walker with a virgin fly fisherman today. I figured it would be a great day on the river with a little “beginner’s luck” on our side. The day did not disappoint.
The weather definitely played a role. It was overcast and raining on and off most of the day. We dove for cover several times when the squalls were at their hardest, but for the most part, fished through the rain. Flows were at 165 CFS and some of the wading was tough. Water temps were 52 degrees and the ambient air temps hovered in the mid-60’s. Could not have asked for better fishing conditions.
We started off the day in the NV side down in the Rosachi Ranch. Upon getting to the water, we noticed that there were fish rising all over the first pool. There was nice pod of fish right in the shallows in the near bank. Reinforcement once again to ALWAYS clear the water nearest you first before casting to what you think is better water. We tied on two different dries to try to search for the winning pattern. My buddy tied on a Stimmie (at my suggestion) and I tied on a #12 Para Adams to try to match the large-ish gray mayflies that were on the water. Second drift and my friend was into a nice brown on the Stimmie. We got the fish all the way to his feet when the hook came out. Welcome to barbless fly fishing! He proceeded to pull another two fish out of the same slot. I ventured upstream and managed several refusal rises to my Adams. The first of the big rain squalls came rolling in at this point and put the bite off so we headed to another section of the river.
Second stop was at the bridge at the top of the Rosachi Section to fish the meadow section. We wind up sitting in the car for about 15 minutes to wait out the worst of the rain before hitting the water. When we get down to the meadow, we notice MORE rising fish. Now they seemed to be rising to a very small mayfly. I work with my friend on some casting technique as most of the rising fish are on the far bank. After about 10 minutes of casting instruction, he is hitting the distance needed (great job!) but next we will have to work in drift. Not now as there are rising fish to be caught. My first fish of the day was a nice brown. He took the EC Caddis that I tied on and I got him by timing his rise to my drift. The caddis was probably the wrong fly as I got nothing more than refusal strikes after that one fish.
Next stop in the day was much further upstream in the California section. Again, we arrive and scope the water and there are fish rising everywhere, including some big browns. So we carefully wade into the water and start casting to the fish. We each manage to catch trout in the section both on purpose and on accident…hey…I was retrieving the fly to shake it out and a fish just snagged it from right in front of me. We wound up fishing this section for over two hours until the rises stopped and ended with many nice fish each, although, the big mack daddy in the corner eluded both of us.
That wound up being the last stop of the day as we got back to the truck and it was 7PM…yikes…we told the wives that we would be home at 7. We drove up to the spillway to have a look and broke down all our gear and headed for the home front.
Overall, it was a great day. We never once put on a nymph or a streamer and we caught fish on dries the entire day. Unusual for the East Walker, but beggars cannot be choosers. For the record, I did see many large Browns cruising sub-surface and am positive that if I have wanted a hog or two, I could have tied on a streamer or bugger and caught a few. But given the chance to fish to consistently rising fish, even if smaller, I take that option almost every time.